How to Choose the Right Plants for a Balcony Garden
Figuring out how to choose the right plants for a balcony garden was the easy part. Finding the right planters and containers for a small space garden was another task entirely! And, dearest blog reader, the container (as I've learned) is an essential part of growing a successful balcony garden.
Choosing the right plants for your balcony garden has a lot less to do with what you actually want and more to do with what you're capable of taking care of. Here's how to choose the best plants for your balcony garden and our solution to finding the perfect planter box.
Things to Consider Before Starting a Balcony Garden
- How much space you have. Plants grow! I know, it's a novel idea. The first time we attempted a balcony garden we filled it with plant babies and quickly learned that those babies grow fast! Without some careful planning, your beautiful balcony garden can turn into an overgrown jungle.
- How much maintenance are you willing (and able) to do. Container gardens (which is what we grow on our balconies) need a lot of water. Consider how often you're home. If you're planning to travel, you'll need someone to look in on your plants daily in order to keep them alive.
- How much sun (or light) you get. This is obvious, but not every plant thrives in shade and vice versa. There's no way around it. You can only grow the plants that can handle your particular climate.
How to Choose the Right Containers for Your Balcony Garden
Before we started this process, choosing the right containers for a balcony garden wasn't even on our radar. We just assumed (like many) that any container would work. We were wrong. Balcony gardening is very different from traditional, in-ground gardens and container choice is a major factor.
Choose Plants First
It feels counter intuitive (maybe) but choosing your plants first is essential. You need to know what kind of root system and sold requirements a plant has before you find the right container for your garden. Depth, not just width, is important. Some plants (like herbs) thrive in shallow containers while others (like vines) need more space to grow.
Consider the Balcony Climate
Balconies tend to fall into one or more of the following categories. Choosing containers and plants according to the climate is important for the success of your balcony garden.
Choose heavier planters, like ceramic or terracotta. The weight will hold them down in the case of windy days. Depending on your balcony, you might have lots of protection from the wind (like we do). In that case, you'll want to focus on plans that will live below the level of your railing and walls.
Very Hot Balconies
There are surprisingly few plants that can tolerate very hot climates. Even is the temperate of your city is manageable, you balcony could be much hotter. In this case, you may want to consider herbs that thrive in dry, hot environments and succulents that don't need a lot of attention. Very hot spaces will also require lots of water so choose garden containers with good drainage.
Shaded balconies are actually great for growing a garden. If you, like us, get indirect light all day you can grow just about anything you want! If you have to move plants to get the sun, you'll want to choose containers that are lighter weight like plastic or resin.
DIY Vertical Garden Planter
When I get something in my head, I have to have it. In the case of our first balcony garden, I wanted a cross-leg, vertical trough style planter made of cedar. Do you think I could find that? Nope! I found one on Etsy, but it was no longer being produced. Lucky for me, I have a very handy husband and step-Dad who took my drawing and went to work.
They created this masterpiece and I couldn't be happier with it. Our cedar trough made the perfect home for our herbs and gave a beautiful height to our balcony garden.
*This series was sponsored by Oceanview Garden Centre. It was ONLY with their help that we were able to pull off this spectacular balcony garden! We can't wait to go again next year!